This is an incredibly common statement. Many people are simply not comfortable with sexuality; they don't know how to discuss it, or even how to think about it, much less how to see themselves as sexual beings. Our society still views sex and desire as something to keep quiet about, as though our sexuality is a reason for shame or embarrassment. This view of sex is beginning to shift thanks to the work of The Kinsey Institute, Pure Romance, AASECT, and other organizations that promote sexuality research and education, but we still have a long way to go.
One thing that is important to remember is that inhibition is simply another part of the Spectrum. Like all other aspects, there are varying degrees of inhibition and all of them are "normal". In fact, inhibition is such an important aspect of sexuality that The Kinsey Institute has conducted considerable amounts of research. This research led to the development of the dual control model of sexual response as a way to evaluate levels of inhibition and excitement and how they affect a person's sexual decisions. Women in particular were found to experience inhibition beginning earlier in the sexual process than men.
The most important words from the quote above are "I want to be...". Some people are sexually inhibited, but comfortable with that. They don't feel that their inhibitions are causing them to miss out on anything. Many people, however, would love to be less inhibited, they simply have no idea how to begin. If you are one of those people, you're in luck, because I know exactly where to start.
It All Begins With You
The most important thing you can do to lower your inhibitions and raise your comfort level with sexuality is to become comfortable with yourself. It is impossible to fully connect with a partner sexually until you are able to view yourself as a sexual being. Excitement increases and inhibitions decrease as you become more sexually aware. Here are a few tips for becoming more comfortable with yourself and aware of your inherent sexuality:
- Look in the mirror. Naked. This can be a scary thing to do, because so often we view ourselves so critically. This time, be aware of your self-talk. Instead of your typical negativity, pay yourself 5 compliments. Out loud. That's right; I want you to say out loud (even if you have to whisper it) 5 things that are good about your appearance. It can be anything at all that you like - your eye color, your skin tone, or even that cute little freckle on your hip. If you're struggling, try to recall compliments you have been given in the past.
- Look a little lower...Yes, that means what you think it means. Grab a handheld mirror (or straddle a larger one) and take a good look everywhere. Every person should know what every single one of their body parts looks like. These are the areas of your body that are capable of bringing you the greatest pleasure. Get to know them well.
*From a practical standpoint, you need to know your body well in order to notice any potentially dangerous changes. Look closely, and look often.
- Spend time naked. One of the easiest ways to get comfortable with your naked body is to make it familiar. When you are alone, just go about your day at home as you normally would - without clothes. It feels a bit silly and uncomfortable at first, but as you become more comfortable you may find that doing mundane tasks like paying bills and washing dishes naked makes them much more enjoyable.
- Do small things that make you feel sexy and confident. Everyone has some minor thing that always makes them feel good. Maybe putting on a sexy pair of boxers or panties (or none at all?) makes you feel more confident. Perhaps listening to certain music or getting in a great workout gives you a boost for the day. It could even be something as small as putting on a bit of lip gloss or painting your nails. What you do is not as important as how it makes you feel.
- Be aware of sensation. We all encounter small, sensual moments dozens of times each day, but we're often to distracted to notice. Make it a point to be aware of sensual stimuli in your daily life. The feel of the warm water in the shower as it hits your skin, the slippery sensation of your soap as you wash yourself, or the soft brush of your t-shirt as you get dressed can all be very arousing. Something as simple as a cool breeze against the back of your neck or your hair lightly brushing your cheek can heighten your senses and boost sexual response if you just allow yourself to be aware.
- Fantasize. Your fantasies are yours and only yours, unless you decide to share them. The absolute safest place to explore your sexual desires is within your own mind. There are no limits here, and there is no right and wrong. Give yourself permission to think about anything - all of the wild and crazy things you could never consider doing in real life are fair game in your fantasies. Public sex, group sex, toys or other objects, being dominant or submissive...the possibilities are endless within your own mind. Enjoy the exploration!
- Touch yourself. You cannot know what you like without exploring different sensations, and you certainly cannot tell a partner what you like when you don't know yourself. Relax and explore your own body. There is no right or wrong way to do it, you just need to learn what feels good. Experiment with different types of touch and varying pressure. Touch areas that you may have always considered off-limits, just to become familiar with how it feels. The sensations may surprise you. Feel free to experiment with different textures and temperatures as well: ice cubes, a feather, or even a rough wool against your skin will each provide a different and potentially pleasurable sensation. As you explore, give yourself permission to move and make noises in any way that comes naturally to you. These movements and sounds will not only enhance the sexual experience for you now, but they will also be a great turn-on for your partner when you become comfortable enough to share them.
How have you learned to connect with yourself and your own desires? If there is a partner in your life, how has your awakening of your own sexuality impacted your relationship? Feel free to share in the comments, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org